I am a registered financial advisor who also writes a public blog at billcara.com, which I do for purposes of education and information. If anybody who invests wishes to participate in the Comments section using a nickname, they can do so if they are respectful of the education and information guidelines. Commenters and readers, whose real identities are undisclosed, come from all around the world, and for almost 18 years there has never been a solicitation or a controversy, or a subscription cost or advertisement, which is unique in the investment world. I am proud of that, and that we were picked Forbes “Best of the Web” and “Favorite”, and so I will continue to maintain this site until I am unable to.
A frequent participant, Goldbug58, has just appended the words “Not financial advice” to a comment he made. Readers should know that “Not financial advice” is precisely the case with everything we do here. Unlike so many other sites that are constantly promoting, this site is a discussion of what we do personally along with our reasons, which we do for the purposes of contributions to an education and information forum.
For example, Goldbug58 was the public commenter who put me on to investigating and later investing in Bluestone Resources (BBSRF) (BSR.V) and has lately given me a reason to re-consider Gold Fields (GFI). Also, both he and another participant, Scott, who are not financial advisors, and people I have never met, happen to like SSR Mining (SSRM), as do I, but their writing about it pushes me and others to think a bit more about SSRM.
When I write about a company or a stock price, I am personally and publicly challenging my assessment and decision-making abilities because time will later tell me (and you) if I was right. I wish more readers would participate and do so with constructive criticism of whatever it is I write about because I am not promoting; I am always testing myself. I often also write about companies and industries I am not invested in because I think there is value to the public in taking my time to do so. I know that the other participants here are doing the same, and it’s something that we should all be doing. Otherwise, we never improve.
When I say this site is a two-way street for me, I’ll give everybody an example. Goldbug58 has been saying for some time that while Gold Fields (GFI) and AngloGold Ashanti (AU) may still have head offices in South Africa, they moved almost all their mining operations away and are now globally diversified. Because I lost a lot of money 11 years ago on Gold Fields and other South African miners, I have never returned. I admit to bias. So, yesterday when Goldbug58 said two of his top five Goldminers were these ones from South Africa, I did investigate, and sure enough, I found many reasons to go back into GFI, and do it in my top 20 out of 50 positions I hold, which will soon be reduced to 20 that include only about five Goldminers plus Silver and Copper, of course. So, that is a tough decision for me, but once I realized that my problem was one of incorrect assumptions and bias, it was much easier to make.
The problem that promoters have — and I am referring to those who write in the Seeking Alpha, Stansberry-type publications, or with their own blogs — is that they are not open-minded – they cannot change. They are writing to push their stocks higher to trade against the price motion or perhaps to earn more promoter shares from the companies they write about. Their stocks become their brand. The public may suspect it, but for sure they don’t understand the cost they pay when getting sucked in.
So, we don’t give recommendations here, and nobody compensates us for anything we write about. If one of my associates does get compensated, I would disclose that and my reasons for writing about it. For example, I met World Copper (WCU)(WCUFF) on September 25, when the stock was C$0.40. I like the Founder/chair/promoter and I liked the story, so I bought a little. But before I would buy a lot, I needed confirmation, with detailed work that no mining analyst without being compensated would do. So in December I introduced an independent mining analyst to the World Copper CEO, who is a professional mining engineer and CFA, and told him that I’d increase my position 15x in WCU/WCUFF if he would pay my associate for the month that it would take him to investigate and write a report. The CEO went to the Board and got the contract approved. I called my associate before he started and asked him what he charged as a fee because I wanted him fairly compensated to do a professional report and to tell him that I had no financial interest in his contract whatsoever, but that I was hoping he would do it quickly. Time is money in the investment world. When he told me he agreed to C$15,000, I went ballistic, telling him it should have been $50,000 because it was worth it to the Company and that I wanted him to be quick and then to talk personally to Wall Street analysts to encourage them to follow this Company, which would take more of his time. I also did not want him ever to take stock compensation (which he didn’t) because that would have put him into a promoter’s role. Anyway, he did the work, which was published this month, and he disclosed in that report that the Company had compensated him. I’m happy for the Company, him, and the public. Win-win-win. I did buy a lot of stock because my associate is a world-class mining analyst and private investor now who built a case on hard data that is the basis of his share price projections that are very high, at least double what I had a sense they might be.
So, doing this work and telling you these stories is what I do at billcara.com to educate and inform, and to help me make better decisions.